There’s something to be said about being recognized as one of Manitoba’s Top Employers for the 11th time in 15 years. And one key ingredient may be that Manitoba Blue Cross doesn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to meeting their employees’ needs.
"We do our best to create an environment where an employee feels they can bring their whole self to work," says Brenda Slikker, Chief Operating Officer at Manitoba Blue Cross. "Life is complex, especially as we navigate through the unknowns of the pandemic, and personal stressors don’t take a vacation while we’re at work. That’s why we feel it’s essential to provide benefits and resources that care for the whole employee and help foster an overall sense of well-being."
This is evident in the company’s offerings. In addition to a competitive salary, company-matched pension plan and three weeks of vacation time after the first year, employees have access to a wide range of health and wellness supports.
This includes a robust health benefits package and coverage through the company’s onsite employee assistance program, which provides counselling, work-life and personal wellness services, psychiatric consultation and addictions management support.
"Employees — when pandemic restrictions aren’t in force — also have access to a fully-equipped fitness centre that’s available free of charge to them and their families," says Wendy Unger, Director of Corporate Services. "They also receive ergonomic assessments to ensure their workspace meets their physical needs and have access to quiet rooms for rest and restoration."
The workplace also has an employee lounge complete with recreational activities like foosball and a pool table. It includes a kitchen where employees can prepare hot lunches and a self-serve Blue Café that provides nutritious, affordable meal options for purchase 24 hours a day.
Manitoba Blue Cross also strives to create an environment where employees feel connected.
"We recognize that social connection and a sense of community are essential components to overall well-being," says Unger. "We put on company-wide events like barbecues and lunches to show appreciation to our staff while bringing everyone together. Contests, potlucks and team-building activities are also frequent occurrences and an opportunity for our employees to step away from their desks and engage with one another."
Connecting is more important than ever during the pandemic, she adds.
"While social connection looks different during the pandemic, we consider it more important than ever. Physical events have transitioned to virtual ones, such as fun at-home challenges, learning activities and initiatives that bring our employees together in a new way. A perfect example is our United Way campaign, one of the many ways our employees support and connect with our community. Even though it was virtual, we still had 93 per cent participation."
When it comes to corporate culture, the Manitoba Blue Cross tagline carries a lot of weight.
"Our ongoing priority is to ensure we live and breathe the Colour of Caring and that it starts within," says Slikker. "A crucial component of this is to foster a respectful and inclusive workplace, which is why we have introduced an equity, diversity and inclusion policy at Manitoba Blue Cross, and established an employee-driven diversity committee."
It’s also about empowering employees, she adds.
"We believe that each employee brings something meaningful to our organization and that creating a learning and development culture is essential to an engaged, satisfied and productive team."
To that end, Manitoba Blue Cross has established a dedicated learning and development team which provides the opportunity to participate in a leadership and career development program, and facilitates in-house training, workshops and continuing education opportunities.
Manitoba Blue Cross also embraces employee feedback and, in addition to inviting open dialogue, conducts annual engagement surveys to better understand how best to meet employees’ ever-evolving needs. They also invite employees to bring forward new ideas and have facilitated innovation labs with representation from across the company.
"We recognize that each of our employees is unique in what they need, what they bring to the organization and where they place value," says Slikker. "That is why we strive to support the whole employee and invest in their overall well-being."
For more information, visit mb.bluecross.ca/careers
This article is produced by the Advertising Department of the Winnipeg Free Press, in collaboration with Manitoba Blue Cross